In an interview on Spanish CCN broadcast May 19, Honduran president Porfirio (“Pepe”) Lobo Sosa agreed that the removal of former president José Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya Rosales (2006-2009) from office on June 28, 2009 was a coup d’état. “Of course, put it how you will, but it was a coup,” Lobo Sosa said when CNN’s José Levy asked if the removal was a coup. But the Honduran president, in Madrid for a May 18 trade summit of European Union and Latin American leaders, justified the removal. “Democracy did not have sufficient mechanisms to guarantee its maintenance,” he said. During his election campaign last year, Lobo Sosa avoided characterizing the June 28 action. Supporters of Zelaya’s ouster generally have insisted that it was constitutional and not a coup. (Honduras Culture and Politics blog, May 22; La Vanguardia, Honduras, May 21)
As of May 26 more than 30 people were holding hunger strikes around a number of issues in Tegucigalpa. Two members of the Association of Judges for Democracy were carrying out the “Hunger Strike Against Impunity,” which started on May 17 to demand the return of four judges dismissed for supporting legal actions in favor of former president Zelaya. A group of 12 campesinos from the Aguán River Valley in northern Honduras started a hunger strike on May 24 to demand the removal of troops from the region, and 10 former supervisors and officials of the Education Ministry began a hunger strike on May 26 to protest what they said were irregularities in their dismissals.
Along with the hunger strikers protesting actions by the government, a group of 10 parents started fasting on May 17 to protest a teachers’ strike. Some 50,000 teachers left their classrooms to protest the dismissal of nine university professors, allegedly because they had participated in a hunger strike to protest the layoffs of 180 National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) workers by the rector, Julieta Castellanos. (Adital, Brazil, May 26)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 30.